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Students recognized as Outstanding Master's graduates

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Five graduate students have been selected as finalists for the Outstanding Master’s Graduate designation.

Each graduate program can nominate one student for the award, based on leadership, scholarship, service, and research. A committee, led by the dean of the University’s Graduate School, selects the top candidates.

A UL Lafayette Alumni Association committee interviews each candidate and chooses one as the overall Outstanding Master’s Graduate. That person will be recognized during Spring Commencement General Assembly on Friday, May 12, at the Cajundome.

Here’s a look at the honorees.

Katie Leleaux is the Outstanding Master’s Graduate for the School of Architecture and Design.

She has a 4.0 GPA.

Her master’s project re-envisioned the former federal courthouse in downtown Lafayette as a homeless shelter. The proposal received the David Williams Award, the architecture program’s highest honor.

As a member of the Community Design Workshop, Leleaux contributed to public discussions about the proposed Interstate 49 Connector and served as chief editor of an upcoming volume that will detail what implications the elevated six-lane highway may hold for Lafayette.

In April, she represented the University at CriticalMASS, a symposium where faculty and graduate students from programs across the country gather to discuss architectural ideas and issues.

Last year, Leleaux received the American Institute of Architecture Students Excellence in Service Award for her contributions to the UL Lafayette College of the Arts.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from UL Lafayette and is the daughter of Roger and Darlene Leleaux of Duson, La.

Katrina Hucks is the Outstanding Master’s Graduate for the Department of Biology.

She has a 3.81 GPA.

Her research examined the effects of coastal change, including sea level rise, on five species of birds in coastal Louisiana. As a research assistant in the Department of Biology, she served as an intern with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Agency.

Hucks volunteered with the Audubon Society, and assisted in bird sampling and outreach education at Palmetto State Park near Abbeville, La., and at Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center in Baton Rouge, La. She also worked as a camp counselor at a youth camp in her native Oklahoma, where she taught middle-school children about forest ecosystems.

Hucks conducted bird surveys for Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon, where she assisted in banding ducks, pelicans and terns.

She published four scholarly journal articles, including one as its principal author. 

She is the daughter of Kerry and Karen Hucks of Oklahoma City, Okla. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.

Mas Iwan Konggidinata is the Outstanding Master’s Graduate for the Department of Chemical Engineering.

He has a 4.0 GPA.

His master’s thesis is about the application and modification of ordered mesoporous carbon for BTEX removal: characterization, adsorption mechanisms, and kinetic studies. He presented a paper on the topic during the American Institute of Chemical Engineers annual meeting in San Francisco.

Konggidinata also made a presentation on the subject at the International Conference in Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials in Lisbon, Portugal.

His research work has been submitted to the Journal of Hazardous Materials for peer review publication.

Konggidinata has worked as an applications and sales engineer for polymer technology at Sulzer Chemtech USA. Some of his projects involved process flow diagrams and piping and instrumentation diagrams.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Konggidinata is a member of the Permias Indonesian Student Association.

His parents are Parlin and Netty Konggidinata of Medan, North Sumatera, Indonesia.

Samuel Ely is the Outstanding Master’s Graduate for the School of Geosciences.

He has a 4.0 GPA.

Ely’s thesis focused on the geologic and geochemical compositions of the Millboro Shale, a thick sequence of rocks that holds oil and gas accumulations in West Virginia’s Appalachian Mountain basin.

He led UL Lafayette’s team during the American Association of Petroleum Geologists’ Imperial Barrel Award competition, an annual exploration contest for geoscience graduate students. The University’s team took first place in both the international and Gulf Coast categories.

He is a working geoscientist and has been employed by Cabot Oil and Gas in Pittsburgh, Pa., since 2015. He previously worked as a geologist for Selman and Associates in North East, Pa.

He is the son of Dean and Robin Ely of Marietta, Ga. He earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., where he played varsity football and varsity lacrosse.

Annalise Walkama is the Outstanding Master’s Graduate for the Department of History and Geography.

She has a 4.0 GPA

Walkama is interested in the social and cultural history of 20th century France, including education, youth movements, travel and tourism, gender, popular culture, U.S./France relations, globalization and national identity.

Her thesis – “The ERASMUS Generation: French Student Mobility in the European Union 1987-1997” – examines travel study programs. The acronym stands for
European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students.

She studied French language and civilizations at the Université Catholique de l’Ouest in Angers France, and French language at the Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour in Pau, France. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Youngstown State University.

Walkama worked as a park guide and historical interpreter at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in Marrero, La. She translated numerous interpretive texts from French to English, and created educational content for park visitors in both languages.

She is the daughter of Jim and Marsha Williams of Poland, Ohio.

Photo info: Five students who will receive master’s degrees during Spring  Commencement ceremonies are finalists for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s overall Outstanding Master’s Graduate Award. Shown, from left, are: Katie LeLeaux, School of Architecture and Design; Katrina Hucks, Department of Biology; Mas Iwan Konggidinata, Department of Chemical Engineering; and Annalise Walkama, Department of History and Geography. Not pictured is Samuel Ely, School of Geosciences.